The Impact World this Week: 1 February 2024

Your quick guide to the news in social enterprise, impact investment and mission-driven business. This week: big names pledge support for Yunus, Irish social enterprises aim high and award opens for mid-career social entrepreneurs.

Our key news stories



Plus: other stories that caught our eye


Global: 242 global leaders have signed a third open letter to Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina expressing their dismay over the “continuous judicial harassment and potential jailing” of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus following his conviction on 1 January. Among the signatories are Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Richard Branson, and the heads of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Read about the impact community’s response to Yunus’ conviction.

Ireland: The time has come for a step change in ambition for social enterprise in Ireland. This is according to John Logue, CEO of Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland (SERI), as the Irish government prepares to draft its second national social enterprise policy. SERI’s response to the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2024-2027 public consultation, published this week, says the country’s second social enterprise policy should provide much more than incremental policy shifts. 

UK-Rwanda: Bboxx, which was founded to combat energy poverty in African and now connects African people with clean energy, smartphones and financial products, announced this week that it is moving its global HQ from London to Kigali, committing to training 1,000 Rwandans and investing more than $100m in the country. It currently provides electricity to 10% of Rwandan households and operates in 11 countries. 

Asia: AVPN’s new podcast, the Gender Agenda, “takes a hard-hitting and honest look at philanthropy to debunk myths and uncover the human side of gender-lens giving”. The latest episode features Vidya Shah of EdelGive Foundation and Jessica Espinoza of 2X Global discussing the pitfalls of gender-blind funding. 

UK: Entries are open for the 2024 Cambridge Social Innovation Prize, a £10,000 award aiming at mid-career social innovators. Past award winners include Tim West, founder of Pioneers Post, Aoise Keogan-Nooshabadi co-founder of Supply Change and member of the WISE100 network, and Alice Williams of Luminary Bakery, an SE100 award-winner. Applications close on 12 April. 

Global: National Geographic has named Zakia Moulaoui Guery, founder and CEO of UK-based social enterprise Invisible Cities, as one of nine ‘Travellers of the Year’, alongside others including American singer and philanthropist Dolly Parton. The list, aimed at celebrating people who “inspire us and teach us about the world”, recognised Guery for the work her business does in training people who have experienced homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city. The company offers tours in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, York, and Cardiff. Read more about Invisible Cities, which won the 2019 WISE100 ‘One to Watch’ award.

UK: Independent research into the social enterprise Migrateful’s model found that its cookery classes, aimed at giving refugees and migrants the chance to teach their cultural recipes to Brits, are dispelling misconceptions about migration. The study showed that the cookery classes proved the effectiveness of ‘contact theory’ in tackling anti-migrant attitudes. Read more about Migrateful’s work here.

Figure of the week: US$10tn is the global wealth managed by family offices. The Impact Investing Institute, a UK body which aims to increase awareness of impact investing, aims for more of those trillions of dollars to be directed towards investments that have a positive social or environmental effect by publishing this week Family Offices: A roadmap to impact. The guide aims to enable wealth holders and their advisers to explore the potential of impact investing.